Page 1 of 3
The infamous original ending gets incorporated back into this high-def edition of the mid-1980s cult favorite....
Warner / 94 Minutes / 1986 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: October 9, 2012
There are strange forces at work in Little Shop of Horrors. B-movie magnate Roger Corman, as something of a challenge, originally devised the story. He needed something that he could film cheaply using existing sets leftover from another production, and had to shoot it in only two days. He accomplished his task and created what is considered one of the worst movies ever made. Which begs the question, why would someone then want to take this horrible film and turn it into a Broadway musical? I don't know, but I'm glad they did because the 1986 film version l is one of the freshest, most hip musicals to ever come out of Hollywood.
Following a total eclipse of the sun, the story gets underway by introducing us to the lonely and nerdish Seymour. He's found a strange and unusual plant that he thinks just might help the plant store he works for increase their business (in fact, even just one customer would be an increase in store traffic!). But Seymour gets more than he bargained for though, as his new discovery can only survive on a very specific kind of nutrient: blood. At first a couple of pricks with a needle on the tips of his fingers do the trick, but as the plant continues to grow and grow, more drastic measures must be taken in order to satisfy the foliage's unquenchable thirst for human hemoglobin. And before you can say, "Feed me Seymour" this tiny plant is out of control as Seymour discovers he has become a mere servant to one mean green mother from outer space.
Director Frank Oz handles the directing chores extremely well here. He knows the material and never tries to deviate from the original intent and spirit. Only the original ending fell victim to the editor's scissors because all involved felt it was not suitable for film. And he doesn't try to make the story kid-safe, which is a bonus because the musical was able to tread a very fine edge between camp and horror. In the hands of a less confident director, this would have been all about the puppetry and less about the more carnivorous aspects of the plant.
Cast in Oz's opus are Rick Moranis as Seymour, who brings a natural charm and a surprisingly good singing voice to the show. He's shy and fragile yet when the time comes to get tough, he's rises to the challenge. Ellen Green reprised her stage role as Audrey, the object of Seymour's unreciprocated affection, and she's got such low self-esteem that she feels the need with men that beat and abuse her mentally and physically. She speaks in a terribly annoying voice, but after a while you just can't help but to like her. Also on hand in smaller roles are comedy legends John Candy, Steve Martin and in the role originated by Jack Nicholson in the Corman original, Bill Murray.